Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Thompson is dead

Published:Saturday | January 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

DUDLEY THOMPSON, the brash, outspoken and colourful former minister of national security in the Michael Manley administration of the late 1970s, is dead.

Thompson, the man who laughed as easily as he frowned, passed away yesterday in the United States where he had been living for several years.

He died a day after celebrating his 95th birthday and less than two months after the death of David Coore, another stalwart of the ideologically flavoured period.

The former Rhodes Scholar featured prominently in the Michael Manley administration during the heady days of democratic socialism in Jamaica and is remembered for his defiant declaration that "no angels died at Green Bay", after five men were gunned down by members of the army at the military base located on the outskirts of Portmore.

At a time when many eyes were focused suspiciously on Jamaica's foray in the socialism ideology, Thompson's controversial trip to Cuba with a mysterious character from that country dubbed the 'Moonex Man' also grabbed headlines.

The struggle for the West Kingston seat between Thompson and the Jamaica Labour Party's Edward Seaga at a time when none of the political parties demonstrated any real dominance over the constituency proved fascinating.

After a bruising battle in the 1962 general election, the relationship between the two defiant personalities was always strained at best, but in the latter part of his life, Thompson described Seaga as a man who was "necessary for Jamaica".

The focus of Dudley Thompson's attention was not confined to local shores as he was an advocate of Pan-Africanism.

Born in Panama and raised to manhood in Jamaica, Thompson served in Britain's Royal Air Force during World War II. In England, he interacted with such Pan-African greats as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, George Padmore of Trinidad and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya.

See related story on A3, and more on Thompson in The Sunday Gleaner.